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posted on Thu, Jan 03 '19 under tag: thoughts

Textual response to a YouTube video about selective empathy

This video is erroneous in its examples. Of course, plastic straw and plastic spoon is a case of selective empathy.

But non-vegetarians petting dogs is not. It is not because it is an animal that you not kill dog, it is only because it is a pet animal. You don’t kill pet animals. You kill cattle. There is no selective empathy there. Also, you wouldn’t want to kill wild animals because you need to protect diversity. That is not selective empathy. That is contextual reasoning.

Not saying selective empathy doesn’t exist. Now, the example about Saudi journalist and Yemen civilians is much more interesting. Why do humans give more importance to an unusual death when compared to thousands of other deaths which have become “usual” by then? It makes evolutionary sense to give more focus on things that are “unusual”. Unusual could mean predator/prey when we were hunters/hunted.

Now, is this trait being amplified by mediatization? Is disproportionate focus on items of news value putting the whole humanity into selective empathy? Is climate change that is the greatest threat to humanity receiving one-tenth the attention of terrorism? Is chronic diseases receiving attention?

Of course on a day to day basis humans get swayed by media and selective empathy.

But that’s where policy making comes in. When you make policies, you sit and think. You avoid selectivism. You study things objectively. And then you make policies that are truly comprehensive. Afterwards you just need to follow the policy.

Thereby, there is no need for consciously worrying about selective empathy in every day life.